Passion is a positive obsession.

It was while casting about for an MMO to play that a friend suggested I could perhaps look again at Guild Wars, seeing as I intended playing the game’s successor upon its arrival later this year. I’ve tried to get my hook into Guild Wars several times before – the original Prophecies campaign, then Factions, before trying once again with Nightfall sometime after its release, several years ago.

I launched Guild Wars late on Friday evening last week, perched my virtual self on the bank of the computer’s memory, then cast my line lightly and without conviction into the digital depths of the game’s design. What leviathan of immersion rose from the deep I cannot tell, but with gaping maw it took both hook and line and pulled me down, and for the greatest time there was nothing but the beat and surge of it – the primal urgency of that rhythmic stroke sending the creature into the impossible darkness of the infinite. Trapped in the tow, I tumbled along in its wake.

On Monday I managed somehow to disentangle myself from the line, and with desperate resolve kicked myself upwards. I broke the surface of that digital dream, my mind gasping at the marvel of it. My character was at the level cap, and as I pulled myself to the virtual shore I considered my adventure close to complete. I looked back on the distance I had come –the opposite shore of the lake into which that beast of obsession had dragged me was visible on the horizon– and couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed that the journey was almost at an end.

It was then that the aforementioned friend arrived in the guise of a guide. With the kindly chuckle of a parent bemused at the innocent naivety of a child, the guide parted a section of thick vegetation surrounding the lake and bid me look beyond. It revealed to me the extent of my journey thus far, and it was clear: I had but stepped upon the path, and no further. The expansive river of progression stretched out before me, its distributaries of activity branching off in many directions; the sea of possibility followed, wide open and dynamic, stretching all the way to the horizon.

I swept my arm out at the expanse of content in front of us. “I had no idea the game was so huge. I mean, good people have tried to explain… but this… this is unfathomable.”

The guide smiled again, “No, this is just Nightfall. There are two other campaigns to explore after this.”

And so tonight I cast my line once more, and hope that the monstrous exigency of play will rise once again, take hook, and pull me onwards and downwards into the fantastical fathoms of Tyria.

8 thoughts on “Passion is a positive obsession.

  1. Melmoth Post author

    It’s quite the experience: finally getting a character to the level cap and unlocking all of the available landmass, only to find out that most modestly played characters these days are, theoretically, level 400 or more.

    And the landmass you have unlocked is a tiny tutorial island off of the main continent.

    For one out of the three campaigns of content.

  2. darkeye

    I’ve been playing about 2 years and have over 400 skill points on my main character, and that wasn’t the most intense of playing either, so I’d say level 400 might be a very low estimate of the levels reached by the average players over 6 years.

    There’s even more to the Nightfall campaign beyond the final mission, the elite area Domain of Anguish, it’s not well signposted, you have to go to the Chantry of Secrets and ask what is behind the blocked off area, didn’t know about that for a while.

    Getting the itch to play GW again, was working on an elementalist and hoping they hurry up with the normal skills update.

  3. ArcherAvatar

    Two digital deluxe accounts for GW2 pre-purchased this morning (one for the incredible female who lives with me, and enjoys playing PC games also… I know… almost defies credibility…)
    Currently trying to decide if I should get a 3rd account (as a secondary for myself) or if I should just spend that amount on extra character slots for the account I already have…

    Only fitfull sleep last night… have to go back roughly 5 decades to a childhood Christmas Eve for the last time I had a night like that where my imagination and excitement simply wouldn’t allow me to drift off.

  4. Jim

    GW was my very 1st mmog, but frankly the world seemed quite dead after visiting WoW or LotRO or AoC or any of the rest of them.

    It’s kind of like wandering around on the set of CoD2 after the extras have eaten at the buffet and they took the tables away. Except a little bit less interesting.

  5. Melmoth Post author

    @darkeye: Indeed, I found out that there’s a level 600ish person in the moderately casual guild I’ve joined. I think I’ve got some way to go before the Domain of Anguish, alas, but I’ll hopefully keep plugging away at missions and exploration, and see where I get to.

    @ArcherAvatar: I know what you mean, I saw a lot of overjoyed people on Twitter yesterday, the game really has generated a huge amount of hope and excitement, I wonder if it can deliver. I do feel that it’s a bit of a Babylon 5 game: ‘the last, best hope’ for this style of MMO. So here’s hoping.

    @Jim, Hunter: I’ve no idea why it takes so long to click for some people. I’ve been trying on and off for years, and now that it’s finally clicked for me I’m somewhat depressed at how much I’ve missed out. I think it’s probably a perception problem, with players projecting what they want from an MMO onto a game that clearly isn’t designed to operate in that way. I know I’m guilty of this, and it’s only recently that I’ve managed to break my preconceptions and play the game for what it is. And what a game it is – as many players have been pointing out for years.

    I wouldn’t kid myself that I’d ever be a God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals as Hunter is, but I like to think that I’d have had a half respectable Hall of Monuments, given the time.

    Guild Wars will still be around, of course, but I imagine that Guild Wars 2 will be the focus of my attentions upon its release.

  6. nugget

    I immediately fell utterly and totally in love with GW. ;) But I’m not big enuff of a nugget to be heard of I guess. XD

    Good that you’re finally seeing it for yourself now. XD Never really got it when I’ve heard people say GW is too small and there’s nothing to do.

    …now if only I weren’t wandering around Rift at the moment…

  7. Phubarrh

    I’ve got quite the love/hate relationship with Guild Wars. Giant landmasses to explore, even if you can’t jump over low shrubs. Gorgeous graphics, comfortable UI and enjoyable gameplay, but the writing and voice acting sets me to cringing and occasionally curling up into a small whimpering ball of pain. But I guess the biggest reason I wandered away upon finishing Nightfall and hitting minor questing obstacles in Factions and Prophecies is that I enjoy having just a little more out of an MMO…crafting, variety in armor and drops, housing, player interaction, and so on. I’m certainly hoping GW2 will fill in those blanks a bit more fluently.

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